Boys from the Black Stuff

‘Boys from the Black Stuff’ is a trilogy of short comedy / dramas by local playwright Johnny Grim. His name may be Grim, but his work is always light-hearted fun. These plays are aimed at older teenagers and adults. Although the name of the plays may have been borrowed from the 1982 award-winning BBC TV series, this is not about tar-laying labourers, rather a few of blue-collar workers having a drink. You don’t know what a blue-collar worker is? Then the first play shows how the years change our outlook.
This Tell Me Ma production can be seen at the Irish Club, 61 Townsend Road in Subiaco, where there is the usual warm welcome from the visiting troupe.
The final two-hour performances are on Friday 30th August at 8.00 pm and on Sunday 1st September at 2.00 pm

The scene: is evening in a typical Irish pub
The set: was supplied by the Irish Club. It comprises a totally matte black stage, with a few tall bar stools and a bar drinks table. Simple but effective, allowing the audience to concentrate on the dialogue.
The lighting and sound were designed and smoothly operated by Jane Sherwood.
Smart poster and neat programme design by Dylan Grimshaw and John Robinson.

All of these comedies were written and directed by Johnny Grim. They all take place in the same pub on different evenings.
‘Comes a Time’ is a 25-minute comedy about gender and political correctness.
When young Gavin (David Fowler) comes into the pub he meets up with two of the old regulars, Noel (Tim Prosser) and Declan (Willy Smeets). These older boys are horrified by Gavin’s description of present-day acceptance of the ‘outrageous’.
Johnny is famous for generously giving a budding actor a chance, some have been lame dogs, but here we have senior school student David who was most impressive. He loves the stage but may end up on the musical or technical side. The old reliable regulars, Tim and Willy, were fine bouncing boards.
‘The Big Six-O’ is a tale that many people dread, a significant birthday and all that is involved.
Maurice (Tim Riessen) thinks that no-one will know it is his birthday, until Paul (James Nailen) arrives and changes his evening’s enjoyment.
Good teamwork with depressed Tim and gloating James. Good fun.
Kiss and Sell’ when a lonely friend finds a partner.
When shy Kevin (Thomas Barker) is asked about his new friendship he is reluctant to talk – until Noel (Tim Prosser) and Declan (Willy Smeets) drag the truth out of him.
Newcomer, Thomas was given a reasonably large piece of monologue which he handled well.

Three well written short plays, with plenty of laughs. There is very little action, but the actors are ‘animated’ with good deliveries. The enjoyment was slightly spoiled by the musical entertainment upstairs that surprisingly started literally as the curtains opened. If the theatre is being hired perhaps the performance times should be discussed.
Johnny is getting his mojo back with the dialogue back to what it was in his prize-winning days. Good fun well presented.